Government will not take any decision that will effect a rise in the price of drugs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said.
Modi gave this assurance to a Kerala ministerial delegation headed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy which shared with him apprehensions that the cost of medicines required for treatment of diseases like cancer, HIV, TB, malaria and diabetes is likely to shoot up.
There is an apprehension in the country that the prices of essential medicines will shoot up…When we informed this to the Prime Minister, he assured us that no decision would be taken by his government which will pave way for price rise of drugs.
He has assured us that the Central government will not create a situation for that, Chandy told reporters here.
Kerala Health Minister V S Sivakumar, who was part of the delegation, said when they raised the issue, Modi asked him whether the prices of medicines have gone up. I said no. He assured us that it will not happen, Sivakumar said.
He said the delegation urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and issue orders to the effect that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) internal guidelines issued on May 5, this year and the subsequent order fixing the MRP of 108 drugs by NPPA be restored making it easier for poor patients to access these medicines without much burden.
Congress has targeted Modi for withdrawing the order which empowered drug pricing authority to cap prices of non-essential drugs ahead of his US visit and during his visit deciding to set up in collaboration with the US a high-level working group on intellectual property to sort out issues hampering investments.
Declare Sabarimala shrine ‘nat’l pilgrim Centre
The delegation asked Prime Minister to declare the famous hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala as a ‘national pilgrim centre’. A memorandum in this regard was submitted to the Prime Minister here by a ministerial delegation led by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Chandy said that the temple, which attracts lakhs of devotees every year, was noted for its contribution to national integration and communal harmony.
Given its location in a densely-forested zone in the area of a tiger sanctuary, Chandy said that both the state government and the Travancore Devaswom Board are faced with constraints in undertaking any large-scale development work to provide the required facilities for the pilgrims on the lines of what has been done at the Tirupati or Vaishno Devi temples.
Kerala government feels that all the obstructions could be remedied if Sabarimala is declared as a ‘national pilgrim centre’, Chandy told reporters in New Delhi, adding that the delegation had requested the prime minister to take all necessary steps towards that end. Kerala Devaswom Minister VS Sivakumar said that Modi’s response to their demand was positive.
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